Thursday, June 14, 2012

Micro-unions, bad

Posted on Thu, Jun 14, 2012 at 4:00 AM

“A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Abraham Lincoln imparted upon us this wisdom. In much the same way, a workplace divided into separate union groups does not create a prosperous business environment.

However, a troubling new rule, called the “micro-union rule” and put in place by Obama’s National Labor Relations Board, could lead to just such a situation. It allows for the creation of multiple collective-bargaining units in a single workplace. That’s a significant departure from traditional union formation and an alarming development for employers.

In fact, the NLRB recently approved the formation of a new micro-union in New York in a department store. Workers in the second-floor designer shoe department are now in one union and workers in the fifth-floor contemporary shoe department are in a separate union.

Imagine a similar situation soon occurring in Montana. The results could be devastating for business as employers suddenly are forced to negotiate with multiple, competing collective-bargaining units with varying agendas. Division would ensue and miles more red tape would further choke job creation.

This nightmare situation can occur because a new NLRB regulation created in 2011 stomped on decades of bipartisan policy and replaced well-thought-out rules with entirely new and short-sighted regulations that allow for multiple micro-unions within a single company—something that only benefits big labor bosses.

Although others in Montana’s congressional delegation have weighed in, Sen. Jon Tester has remained curiously quiet about an issue that clearly is not in Montanans’ best interests. I am sure the millions in big labor campaign contributions have everything to do with his silence.

Micro-unions are bad for both Montana workers and employers alike.

Jill Taber

Missoula

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